Stevie and Tom slowly walked through the door into Stacia’s house.
“I feel really weird about this,” whispered Stevie a little too loudly for Tom.
“We knocked, we rang the doorbell, we shouted. We need to get to a phone, so if she’s not here, we’re just going to use the phone and go.”
“But what if she’s takin’ a nap or something?” asked Stevie.
“Then we’ll say we’re sorry,” said Tom.
“Or maybe you’ll give her a smooch to wake her up,” muttered Stevie.
“It smells kinda weird in here,” said Stevie.
“I know. Kinda like what I smelled at our house.”
“You don’t think the ninjas are here too?”
Tom shook his head. “Let’s just get to the phone.”
They moved a little faster, came into the kitchen.
“What’s that thing?” asked Stevie, pointing to an odd glass canister sitting on the kitchen counter.
Tom shook his head. “Not sure. Maybe it’s nothing.”
“I bet it has to do with the ninjas.”
“Why would ninjas carry around strange canisters?”
“Maybe they’re mutant ninjas!”
“You’re a dork.”
“Nuh-uh. You are.”
“Good one. Seriously.”
Tom found the phone cradle. It was a cordless, and the handset was missing.
“No problem,” said Tom. “If she’s using it, we’ll just turn on the speaker phone and explain. Probably scare her like nothing else, but she’ll be alright. If she’s not using it, we can just use the speakerphone to call the police.”
Stevie just looked up at his brother and shrugged.
Tom hit the speakerphone button. The speaker popped to life, but all they heard was empty air. No dialtone.
“Is there something wrong with her phone too?” asked Stevie.
“Stevie?” they heard Stacia’s voice whisper anxiously over the speaker.
“Stacia? Where are you?” asked Tom.
“Oh, Thomas,” she sobbed. “I’m really scared. There are things in my house!”
“We know,” said Stevie. “They’re in our house, too. They’re ninjas!”
“Ninjas?” she asked thickly.
“Nevermind right now,” said Tom. “Where are you?”
“Locked in the upstairs bathroom. I was just turning on the phone to call for help. Where are you guys.”
“We’re in your kitchen,” said Tom. “We’ll come and get you.”
Tom pressed the speakerphone button and they rushed to the entryway, to the foot of the stairs. They stopped suddenly, looking up at the black shape on the landing.